Ex Macc Town as­sis­tant boss tri­umphs over ‘un­fair’ dis­missal

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

EFE Sodje, sacked as as­sis­tant man­ager of Mac­cles­field Town FC af­ter be­ing ac­cused of ver­bally abus­ing ground staff, has tri­umphed in an un­fair dis­missal claim.

The for­mer foot­baller, who played for the club in the 1990s, was given his march­ing or­ders in March last year af­ter he was ac­cused of swear­ing at three grounds­men.

He was said to have lost his cool over the po­si­tion­ing of prac­tice nets and cones be­fore a pre-sea­son match against Bury and was sacked with im­me­di­ate ef­fect af­ter a dis­ci­plinary panel found him guilty of gross misconduct.

But now an Em­ploy­ment Tri­bunal has ruled that Mr Sodje, 44, was treated un­fairly and un­law­fully and awarded him thou­sands of pounds in com­pen­sa­tion against the club.

Mr Sodje ac­cepted he had “used the F word” when speak­ing to one of the grounds­men, but said he only did so af­ter he was sworn at him­self.

“The use of such lan­guage was com­mon­place at the club and amongst foot­ballers gen­er­ally,” he also told the tri­bunal, sit­ting in Manch­ester.

The young grounds­man had re­ferred to it as “just a hissy fit” and said that “he had been there be­fore with man­agers, and he just got on with it.”

De­scrib­ing the in­ci­dent as “six of one and half a dozen of other”, he “ac­cepted that he had sworn, and that it was not the right thing for both of them to have done.”

And Em­ploy­ment Judge Paul Holmes con­cluded that the club had “not sat­is­fied the tri­bunal, on the balance of prob­a­bil­i­ties, that Mr Sodje was guilty of the con­duct al­leged”.

Mr Sodje was only told of the al­le­ga­tion in Jan­uary last year, six months af­ter

Go to­go­fundme.com/ rehab-and-flight-home­for-our-kyle. the in­ci­dent oc­curred, and the judge said that the de­ci­sion to sack him – “whilst gen­uinely and hon­estly taken” – was un­rea­son­able.

The for­mer as­sis­tant man­ager was in no way to blame for his un­fair sack­ing and the judge found that he had also been wrong­fully dis­missed, in breach of con­tract. The de­ci­sion to dis­miss him was “out­side the band of rea­son­able re­sponses.”

Lawyers were left to tot up the ex­act amount of com­pen­sa­tion due to Mr Sodje, but the pay­out will in­clude six months’ pay, a ba­sic award of £865 for un­fair dis­missal and al­most £3,000 for breach of con­tract.

Efe Sodje

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